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brain candy (manchester uk)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars get this crap off amazon, 2 Mar 2013
What the hell is this? What an awful, obnoxious, offensive t-shirt. I can imagine the smug b*stards walking around in this t-shirt, while their wives, girlfriends, sisters, female friends are wondering what the hell is going on... is it supposed to be funny or ironic? Well, it's not. And for all the women who do experience violence at the hands of idiots who actually can get locked up for doing this, I want to say sorry that these IDIOTS who are selling this, don't know the boundaries of what is acceptable or not. Amazon, shame on you for letting this kind of crap be sold on your site

I want to rate this zero stars, but Amazon will not let me

The War Tour
The War Tour
by Zoe Lambert
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.46

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Short stories with a devastating emotional edge, 24 Feb 2012
This review is from: The War Tour (Paperback)
These stories are well-written, thought-provoking, and devastating in a mix of ways. Some are hard hitting, like 'When the Truck Came' a story about some boys in the DRC who are kidnapped and trained to be child soldiers. There are stories which give a low-key and eye-opening personal but political commentary on how the asylum seekers are treated by the countries they seek refuge in, like 33 Bullets, a story of a failed asylum seeker in detention in the UK. There are stories about 'war tourists', survivors of war, soldiers, and those impacted on by war, however far or distantly this might be, and there are a few really interesting historical stories focused on real people. It probably seems a little depressing to read a book about war, but to be honest, these stories are insightful, clearly well-researched by the writer, and offer hope as well as exploring the dark horrible edges of wars. The treatment of war is not gratuitous or over-done, in fact there is a lot of thought and respect given to these characters. I guess we all have our own experiences of war, whether they be directly, or through friends or family who have experienced war first hand, so there is a lot to identify with, and these stories left me thinking a long time after I read them. Definitely recommended.

The Blue Handbag
The Blue Handbag
by Fiona Robyn
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 14.95

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars endearing page-turning novel, 16 May 2009
This review is from: The Blue Handbag (Hardcover)
I like her main character Leonard, he is very endearing. He has a wonderful character, I like the `buggers' and `loves' scattered through the narrative, the small inflections in his personality that give him depth and made me warm to him so. The story is a real intrigue. From the moment Leonard finds the blue handbag in the first chapter, I had such a drive to know more.

The Blue Handbag is such a lovely read. I really recommend it.

Pan's Labyrinth (2 Disc Set) [2006] [DVD]
Pan's Labyrinth (2 Disc Set) [2006] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Doug Jones
Offered by TwoRedSevens
Price: 5.99

2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars beautiful dark fairytale, 9 Jan 2007
A spanish film set at the time of the Spanish Civil war. Ofelia moves with her mother to a sprawling farmhouse overtaken by her step-father, a captain in Franco's Army. She is drawn by praying mantis/fairy to a crumbling labyrinth near the house where she meets Pan, a strange magical creature who tells her she is a lost Princess from an underground kingdom. He sets her three difficult tasks... not as difficult or as frightening as the realities she is dealing with in her family I thought. What is beautiful about this film is the way the violent reality of war is interwoven with gothic fairytale. It is painfully sad and some of the violence is extreme, certainly an adult film, and not for young children. Earthy rather than ethereal. Magical and brutal.

Blue Velvet [1986] [DVD]
Blue Velvet [1986] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Kyle MacLachlan
Offered by Rare Dvds
Price: 14.74

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars disturbed and disturbing..., 9 Jan 2007
This review is from: Blue Velvet [1986] [DVD] (DVD)
Last night I watched Blue Velvet. Such a strange, disturbed film. College boy finds severed ear and starts investigating where it might have come from... he enters into a bizarre sadistic world first as a voyeur, later as reluctant participant, and at times it's very difficult to watch. It's beautifully shot... it has a real noir feel and Lynch's use of light and tight editing make it a very tense watch. The characterisation is amazing. Frank, played by Dennis Hopper has to be one of the most disturbed characters I've ever seen in a film. Hopper's performance was truly frightening. The way he inhales amyl nitrate through his mask, his extreme sexual violence, the lipstick scene with Kyle MacLachlan... it felt very real and beyond weird. Isabella Rosellini plays fragile and mentally unstable very convincingly and her performance really affected me. It's a brutal film and at times tender. It won't appeal to everyone, you need to like a film that challenges and be prepared to view some disturbing scenes.

The Lagoon: A Collection of Short Stories
The Lagoon: A Collection of Short Stories
by Janet Frame
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.39

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars beautiful/sad slices of life, 27 Dec 2006
my first foray into NZ literature has been Janet Frame... a new discovery for me, even though she's one of New Zealand's most famous writers and won many prizes for her writing (novels, short stories, autobiography, poems).

This is her first collection of short stories published in 1951. The Lagoon is a collection of 24 stories, mostly written in first person, some are very short, but all have a beautiful attention for sensory detail.

I found the writing simple and stripped down. Its focus is on small resonating emotional moments and realisations. Often the narrators are adults reflecting on being a child, or children exploring their experience of family, or other more isolated characters - as in Dossy about a child with an imaginary friend, or Jan Godfrey whose narrator is in a psychiatric hospital.

It's probably not everyone's cup of tea - there is little deep intellectual or psychological analysis (although there is some interesting decontruction of self and story-telling in two of these stories).

Primarily, this is an emotional journey, a reflective collection, one deeply rooted in physical and emotional experience. The stories are voice-driven, beautifully detailed, achingly sad. They inter-relate, but are strong enough to stand alone. Read them in one sitting or slip them into short slices of time and let them linger...
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 26, 2008 2:23 AM BST

Mulholland Drive [DVD] [2002]
Mulholland Drive [DVD] [2002]
Dvd ~ Naomi Watts
Offered by WorldCinema
Price: 7.95

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars genius, 22 Dec 2006
This film is NOIR, edgy, beautifully shot, fractured, GENIUS... characters identities shift, the journey of the film is intense and involving, the story twists, the audience has to work at this film and bring their own interpretation to what is happening...

I loved it.

Everything is Illuminated
Everything is Illuminated
by Jonathan Safran Foer
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.29

6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant ambitious debut novel, 10 Dec 2006
I loved reading this novel. The structure is brilliant. Two narrators - 'Jonathan' - the novelist writing about his family, and 'Alex' a very quirky Ukranian who is working as a translator for Jonathan. I loved both narrators. Someone said to me recently that dual narratives aren't a good idea because a reader usually prefers one to the other... but in this case, I loved both narrators : Jonathan for his characterisation, the cultural/historical aspects of the novel - this narrative spans 1791 to 1942 hugely ambitions, but it works; I loved Alex for his strange translated-English vernacular with words mixed up, misplaced and a very lively use of vocab. The relationship between the two narrators (developed from Alex's point of view) is also very humorous and moving. The use of 'English in translation' and being witness to the two narrators sending parts of the book to each other, raised a lot of issues for me about narrative and perspective.

My favourite parts of this story:

Brod and her 613 different kinds of sadness: Brod discovered 613 sadnesses, each perfectly unique, each a singular emotion, no more similar to any other sadness than to anger, ecstasy, guilt, or frustration. Mirror Sadness. Sadness of Domesticated Birds. Sadness of Being Sad in Front of One's Parent.Humor Sadness. Sadness of Love Without Release.

The 120 marriages of Joseph and Sarah L. The book of recurring dreams. The dog, Sammy Davis Junior Junior and his farting, salivating and trying to 69 with Jonathan.

This is a very funny book. But also tragic. The description of the Nazis arriving in Trachimbrod is terrifying and powerfully written. One sentence lasts for more than two pages with no punctuation and words merge into words creating real tension and emotion in the scene. The ending was shocking, brutal and sad, and I was surprised all the way by the story, the characters and the writing.

I really recommend this book...

by Ray Robinson
Edition: Paperback

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars READ THIS BOOK... NOW...!, 19 May 2006
This review is from: Electricity (Paperback)
I just finished this novel and was knocked sideways by its tough talking character and brilliant writing... this is a novel you HAVE TO read. From start to finish it grabs you with it's twisty plot, real life quirky observations, and compelling main character Lily. I was hooked all the way through.

Lily is a tough Northern girl, with a real need to find her lost brothers, deal with the aftermath of her shocking upbringing and the impact of her seriously disturbing epilectic fits which are graphically described.

Ray Robinson writes in the voice of Lily all the way through and is so convincing I had to check the author blurb to make sure that yes this writer is a MAN. (How does he know these things about women?) He gets us right to the gritty heart of this female character exploring some very intimate ground. He brings us so close to her experience, it's like we get a private audience with the her thoughts and feelings, and the idiosyncratic workings of her often grubby day to day life. I felt as if I really got inside her skin and it was gut-wreching at times, actually. Some of the things that happen to her in the book are pretty harsh and it's like the writer took me right along with her. I grew to really like her defiance, resilience and thought she was very funny to the end.

There are also some strong quirky male characters in the book that I enjoyed meeting: her greasy Elvis impersonator landlord, her very dodgy druggie poker playing brother Barry, her missing brother Mikey who - get this - used to be a bronzed musscle-popping snake keeper, her stomach churningly sleazy step-dad Don and Dave who let's just say ain't going to be the man of her dreams.

It's non-stop brilliant from start to finish. Beautiful, poignant, raw, gritty, straight-talking, and actually achingly sad. It's the best book I've read in years.

The Alchemist: A Fable About Following Your Dream
The Alchemist: A Fable About Following Your Dream
by Paulo Coelho
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.59

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars read this book, 19 May 2006
This book is very simple, but it's message stayed with me a long time. It's a book that could change your life if you read it at the right time. It reminds us that life is not about chasing the 'treasure' or realsiing our dreams, or reaching a destination, but what we do and who we meet and what we learn along the way.

I love the simplicity of its story, Santiago an Andalusian shepherd boy is not a modern hero, he is a character who speaks for all times and could be any of us.

It's beautifully written, and an amazing afternoon read.

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